04/24/2013 12:43PM

Blue Chip Farms: Where Stars are Born


As hard as it may be to believe, until Monday I had never visited a breeding farm. That is when I trekked up the NYS Thruway to Wallkill, New York. The folks at Blue Chip Farms (www.bluechipfarms.com) were gracious enough to show me around their 648-acre facility.

Blue Chip, which prides itself in standing the elite stallions in the business, has seven producers of champions on the grounds with another two – Shadow Play (Canada) and Bettor’s Delight (Pennsylvania) providing services out of state.

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After producing a record 800-plus foals in 2012, Blue Chip is on track to smash that figure with over 900 fillies and colts expected in 2013. Bucking the standardbred industry trend of downsizing when it comes to producing foals, a large part of the success can be placed in two corners – Video Lottery Terminals and investment in the future.

“[Slot funding] has enabled us to invest into bringing a better stallion to New York, buying better broodmares and having the ability to be competitive,” said Jean Brown, Vice President of Operations.

The current New York roster includes pacers American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven and Roll With Joe. The former pair has been producing stars for years. American Ideal has fathered recent mega-stars American Jewel and Heston Blue Chip. Among Art Major’s top progeny are Art Official and Hypnotic Blue Chip; both with sub-1:48 lifetime marks and well over $1 million in earnings.

Rock N Roll Heaven and Roll With Joe are the newcomers to the Blue Chip family. Heaven’s first crop hit the ground in 2012 and all signs point to the earner of $2.74 million as a potential standout stud.

“They all came out looking at least medium-plus size,” said owner Blue Chip Tom Grossman. “[Rock N Roll Heaven] is on the smaller side. They are as big or bigger than him and really good looking.”

Credit Winner is the patriarch of the farm on the trotting end. He has produced three millionaires – Chocolatier, Dejarmbro and Crazed – since his first crop in 2002.

Fourth among money-winning sires encompassing all trotters in 2012 and second with 2-year-olds, Credit Winner doesn’t hang with the crowd at Blue Chip. The now 16-year-old is a bit intimidated by the other stallions and enjoys being with the girls at a barn across the path.

Chapter Seven and Archangel joined the Blue Chip ranks in 2013. The former is fresh off a Horse of the Year campaign, while the latter won the Yonkers Trot in World Record time for a half-mile track.

View pictures of some of the top Blue Chip stallions on our Facebook page

Grossman, President Mike Kimelman and Brown were my tour guides as I viewed countless barns and fields of green grass. I received an education on the breeding process from Brown, who has a wealth of information and was a perfect host. From sperm collection and shipment to foaling and nurturing, Rome wasn’t built in a day and nature takes time to produce a healthy foal (11 months in fact) and eventually get them to the track.

As more of a “track guy”, pregnant mares and foals less than a week old were sights that have never crossed my eyes. You certainly get a new appreciation for the time and effort that goes into watching a stakes race or even a $20,000 claimer when you see the untapped product of years of hard work at its genesis.

Blue Chip is a full service farm that can house a mare in foal and take that foal all the way up to the time of sale or training. In addition to servicing clients, they have a broodmare band of about 80 that have permanent residence in the upstate New York facility.

Spend a few hours at Blue Chip with the staff and you come away with a “mom and pop” type feel surrounded by a first-rate operation led by an extremely upbeat and optimistic Grossman.

The Blue Chip slogan is “Bred in New York to take on the World”.

From what I saw, the operation is in the right hands and the future looks bright.


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